Monday, Sept. 21, 2009 – Santorini Greece

      We finally got up early enough to have a leisurely breakfast in the Grand Pacific Dining Room.   It is difficult to eat in the Garden Cafe on deck 12 because they don’t have trays.  You have to get your drink, put it on a table and hope they don’t clear it away before you get back with your plate.

IMG_5225 Stitch Santorini

     Santorini is a tender port and we were given V.I.P. tender tickets but we decided not to use them.  We weren’t touring and were not in a rush.  Santorini is the most extraordinary island in the Aegean.  The volcanic cliffs of Santorini are red, brown or greenish, surmounted by a string of white villages.  Jutting out from the deep blue sea, its volcanic sheer cliffs topped with gleaming white village homes and churches, resembling snowcapped mountains.

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     The thunderous fury of nature left its mark on the island, the home of Greece’s last active volcano which still smolders today.  The entire center of the circular island sank into the sea during the tremendous volcanic explosion of 3,500 years go.  The eruption caused tidal waves which virtually wiped out the advanced Minoan civilization of Crete, 70 miles to the south.  What remains today of Santorini is a large crescent shaped island enclosing a west bay the largest caldera on earth (7  14 miles).  Santorini, which covers 132 square kilometers, has 13 villages.

     When you get off the tender, you are in Scala, 260 meters below Fira, the capital of Santorini on the west side.  There are 3 ways to get to the top:  cable car, ride a donkey up the stairs, or walk next to the donkeys (and their droppings).  We chose the cable car, 4 Euros per person, each way. 

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Once at the top, there are many narrow paths to take.  The paths or roads are cobblestone or rocks, very hard to walk on and they either go up or go down.  We found an Internet cafe and had fries and drinks so we could use the WiFi.  It was interesting to watch the delivery men go up the hill with deliveries.  The pizza guy on a scooter came twice.  One poor guy was carrying propane up the hill.  There were many jewelry stores, artsy stores and souvenirs.    They say the beaches are beautiful, but we have Myrtle Beach.  It was warm, but not really hot – there was a breeze blowing all day. 

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On the east side, the traffic was something else – lots of Smart cars and scooters.  Sidewalks were very narrow, when you could find them.  We did our share of walking and went back to the ship.

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     The English roast beef at dinner was a little disappointing.  It was a bit too well done and a little chewy.  The flavor was good.  I just missed the sunset, but I think I got a good picture anyway.

IMG_5235 Stitch Sntorini sunset

     We checked out our photos and then went to the show, “Stars on Strings”.  It was a marionette program featuring John Chisholm and Josef Probst.  I thing we’ve seen them before.  They are very good at pulling strings.  The casino wasn’t open yet, so we went up to the Spinnaker International Cabaret on deck 13 and saw the end of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” game show.  I should have entered, I would have done better than the people who were chosen.  We tried to play a game (I can’t think of the name) where you slide pucks along a board, but it was tilted and they kept going off the side.  Bar hockey?  We then went to the casino where I made a quick $20 on the 2 cent machine and then left.  No towel folding tonight!

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